7 Simple Tech Tips to Keep Your Family Safe This Holiday

WIRED

Photograph: 10’000 Hours/Getty Images

With Thanksgiving and the holidays looming, you might well find yourself called upon to provide some free tech support to your family. Maybe it’s a tradition, or maybe it’ll be the first time. After all, these are usually the occasions where 12 months’ worth of tech problems and concerns get aired. At this point, since you probably shouldn’t travel if you can avoid it, here are some tips you can offer family in your stead – or at least help them out with from afar.

These tips represent simple and straightforward security advice that you can pass on to your loved ones, even if it has to be over Zoom. What’s more, following these guidelines should keep your family members safe for the year ahead as well, with minimal involvement from you.

Keep Everything Up to Date

You might be surprised at just how many security threats get stopped simply by having up-to-date software on your laptop or phone: While they’re not invulnerable to vulnerabilities or attacks, most modern-day operating systems, web browsers, and other apps are very good at keeping a lot of malicious activity at bay.

These days it’s actually pretty hard not to keep operating systems, programs, and other devices up to date. Most of them have auto-updates turned on by default, but it’s worth double-checking with family members to make sure they’re not putting off an update for whatever reason (a lack of free storage space might be a problem on older devices, or one stalled or failed update may mean no updates since the failed one).

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